Hi everyone! I have a chilling review for you today, courtesy of Penguin Random House UK.
Amy Lloyd’s first novel, The Innocent Wife, follows the story of Samantha who falls in love with a man called Dennis. Only, Samantha lives in England and Dennis lives in Florida, on death Row, for murder. She first heard about Dennis through watching a documentary made years ago about the case and strongly believes he was wrongly incarcerated. A follow-up series about Dennis is being filmed by the same crew from the original, and Samantha gets a front row seat as she decides to go to Florida and campaign for Dennis’s release because she believes he is innocent. However, after Dennis is eventually freed, facts start to feel more like fiction, alibis become blurred, and Dennis’ behaviour gets stranger by the minute. After all, someone killed those girls…
This book is the epitome of a psychological thriller; murderer vs truth, perspective vs fact, heart vs head. I read a lot of crime thrillers (anyone who has seen my blog knows this!) but I find a lot of the plots are repetitive and predictable. However, The Innocent Wife breaks those boundaries with a unique and original plot line.
The story is written in 3rd person from Samantha’s point of view. Although you are following the story unravel from Samantha’s perspective, her narrative is quite reliable because she literally has nothing to hide, well, nothing to hide concerning Dennis anyway… She herself is kept in the dark a lot of the time and as a reader, you are just as desperate as Samantha in finding out the truth.
In addition to Samantha’s POV, a few chapters are split up containing snippets from a book written about the case, evidence, and interviews. This is a rare opportunity for the reader as we are privy to information that might help make up our own minds. Although, there is no doubt that Lloyd will throw in another twist making you re-think everything you’ve read so far!
Samantha’s character is easy to sympathise with when you put yourself in her shoes; she has to adjust to a new life on the other side of the world in a relationship with an inmate on death row. She keeps the reader guessing about something from her past that made her the person she is today; abandonment issues, unsure of herself, desperate for attention… However, Samantha is also a strong character and tries to make the best of every situation. Her optimism is the strength that keeps her going, even when she wants to run away and hide. Although I didn’t agree with a lot of her actions, I still felt as if I was rooting for her to investigate further and find out the truth.
Dennis’s character can be only summed up as strange. Sometimes you believe he is innocent, other times you are convinced he is guilty. His frustration and ignorance come through strongly in the story which only makes you feel for Samantha more. His behaviour goes from caring, to odd, to downright bizarre. His character channels that of both a villain and a saint- but which one is the truth? Dennis’s persona is brilliant for a psychological crime thriller- he keeps everyone guessing; friends, Samantha, the reader, right to the very end.
The other characters in the book fit well with the narrative; they are well thought out and add to the story line rather than distract the reader from the main plot. I thought that although at times they were dislikeable, it doesn’t mean they were not interesting in the way they were portrayed.
I also thought the setting was eerie and unnerving; the swamps of Florida have the dark intensity of nature, mixed with the harsh and unpredictable rural suburbs. Easy for people to disappear, even more easy for someone to hide something…
Now, there are no spoilers in this review, but I will say only this- you will not be able to predict the ending. At one point I thought I had it all figured out and then BOOM, PLOT TWIST! The ending left me feeling very unsettled and creeped out- what better way to finish a novel like this one?!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think a lot of others will do too. Although disturbing at times, crime enthusiasts and psychological thriller lovers will be gripped at this story! It also reminded me of the hit documentary series on Netflix, Making a Murderer. If you couldn’t wait to watch the next episode then I would entice you to read this novel. It will keep you on your toes and have you glued to every single page.
To sum up, I would say this book is a ‘disturbingly good read full of shocking twists and psychological disruptions leaving the reader acting as a member of the jury’. – Books Beyond The Story
This book is out now! CLICK HERE to get your hands on a copy!
Join the conversation: follow the author on twitter @AmyLloydWrites and use the hashtag #TheInnocentWife
And, to Amy Lloyd- I thoroughly enjoyed this book and want you to write more! Your passion for crime fiction really comes though and I can’t wait for your next book!
Thank you Penguin Random House and Century publishing for this book! Happy reading! Lx